tv [untitled] February 25, 2013 1:00am-1:30am PST
the board of supervisors recently recognized our department and our division for another case that was uncovered by our programs, 245 levenworth where 423 habitbility violations were corrected due to our actions. and i am going to pass this around. so we have the representatives where we have time to hear from a few of them. one of the executive directors here, sarah? sarah is the director of the housing rights committee, they have been one of the initial and have been there from the beginning. >> thank you, commissioners and thank you for hearing this item. the program we believe is an extremely important component of the work we do and the work that the city funds generally speaking. so, the basic way that the model works, is that tenants will contact us with building repair issues that they have not been able to resolve once
they have taken the first steps of you know, contacting their landlord and perhaps, even writing letters, etc. and we are able then to sort of help them navigate through the system and get in contact with dbi when we need to. and then, as jamie mentioned work with the land lords as well. we contact the apartment association in some cases and have them sort of work on the other end speaking to the landlord complying with codes and all of that. and we have had great success. the other thing that it allows us to do is a little bit of a more of a case management model. some of our counseling that we do it is really where we are only able to sort of do an in and out and advise them a little bit and send them on the way and with this, we are able to do follow up calls and we send out post cards saying has your issue been resolved and we will track the cases thoroughly. if the people are not getting anywhere, we are able to
escalate through the dbi system if we need to or keep helping them work with the landlord. i think that it provides a great service not just to the community and the tenants but to your department frankly. we are trying to do a lot of the groundwork so that these cases don't necessarily get to you. we are trying to sort of do what we can do just through the community work and it is also helpful that the tenants kind of come to us as you will hear from other groups, were based in various communities and various neighborhoods. and so rather than feeling like they have to go to sometimes what people considered intimidating, you know, city commission or department, where they are right in the communities, we have different languages that we are able to accommodate and we are really accessible and a free service. so, i think that it is, we have been since the beginning and how many years has it been jamie?
>> 17. it makes me feel old. we have been doing this a very long time and you know, unfortunately we still do keep seeing the cases there is clearly a need and i think that a continuing need and perhaps increasing as the market, you know, continues to escalate and again, we are able to do so much in the community just to resolve these issues so that they... your inspecters could spend a lot more time on the essential cases that they need to do more work with. so thank you very much. >> thank you. >> just quickly, as a clarification for those in the audience or watching on television. the reason why this program is so important that really demonstrate is that is an apartment building and so we generally do not go into the dwelling units unless there is a complaint by a occupant.
it is different than a hotel, we have been in the common areas but the picture that you saw of the conditions that were in the units themselves and in the bathrooms, etc. and in which we were some what hesitant to talk to us or maybe there was a language barrier and here, our groups are actually were absolutely were crucial to organizing these individuals and getting that information to us and this frequently happens where we will have a situation like this in an apartment building or even in an srl in which the organization will occur so the inspector will know that this is going to happen, and they will allow enough time for each individual to let them in and show them the conditions. which would not happen without this program. we might not see what is behind those closed doors, especially in an apartment buildings or residential hotels or other residential uses where people are afraid or don't understand what their rights are. so that is why it is a great
illustration of where this program is right now. thank you. >> good morning, commissioners, my name is page, i am a counselor, housing rights counselor and we are based in the commission district and also have an office in oakland. >> so they help us to manage the cases better and insure the case resolution since the workers working with the clients are connected to the inspectors as the only one with bilingual managers, we increase the capacity to work with more spanish speaking tenants and we make sure that they access services that they may not have otherwise, for fear of a language barrier or unfamiliarty with the housing codes in san francisco. so i brought with me the two clients that benefited and just
wanted to share the brief stories with you >> martinez. >> i'm here because to talk about how my landlord did not want to repair my water heater. for four weeks i was forced to heat up water on the stove. [ speaking in a foreign lanuage ] >> so, i called hosta and thankfully my problem got resolved. so when she came to us we helped her write a letter to the landlord. the landlord did not respond and so using the sea op, collaboration we enlisted the
hept of the san francisco housing authorization and after that her landlord made her repairs. >> thank you. >> one more quick story. [ speaking in a foreign lanuage ] >> martinez. [ speaking in a foreign lanuage ] >> so i am here for a similar reason as the last speaker. i have been living in my apartment for about ten years. >> the carpet was damaged. it was smelly. >> and the apartment was pretty much destroyed. >> so they told me to go to hosta. [ speaking in a foreign lanuage ] >> and with their help an inspector came to my apartment. [ speaking in a foreign lanuage ]
>> so after that, they changed my carpet, they repaired the chiping paint, they restored my cabinets that were broken and the conditions are much better now. [ speaking in a foreign lanuage ] >> thank you, miss martinez. >> thank you. >> that is all. >> the last one that i want to acknowledge some of the other groups that came today. central city collaborativive and josh from the commission collaborative and from the san francisco apartment association and very important for parts of the efforts thank you. >> commissioner walker? you have some comments before we... >> thank you, so much for the presentation. and i think that all of us are sufficiently disturbed by some of the conditions that we see. and that you guys help with. and i wonder if there is
anything, are we committing enough funding to these programs? what would help in being more proactive in making these conditions better? >> one of the things that we are looking at commissioner walker is a mental health component to this. because we and the collaborative need sometimes assistance in dealing with issues and so that has been looked into as far as the program is concerned. i'm also representing other parts of the city as well as the communities that are currently represented. and so it is a big chunk of the housing budget rate now. and the collaboratives and we do send the facts, the program needs to grow as the need grows as you can see from the situations like turk.
what will help is the housing to act in the enforcement out reach program. the announcement for the housing inspect ors went out on friday and we are four or five people down because that will help because i could put more inspecters in the north east part of the city that traditionally has more ha bitbility types of issues to work more closely with. the contractors, both. and those are some of the things that we are looking at as far as making the program more robust. >> is there any program currently for assisting the building owners in being more proactive on these repairs? and i think that the owner of one of those buildings said this they could not afford to commit, you know, $50,000 through fixing these things. have we looked into maybe making a low interest loans for
increasing the code situations here? >> well, actually commissioner, walker. there used to be part of the fund that individuals for at least the smaller buildings could use surf and cherp moneys and programs commissioner melgar is better at speaking on that issue. but i understand from the housing those funds are some what dried up. dbi did fund that at one point in time and it may be as the economy picks up that we will look at perhaps, the funding, but also look at whether or not, in the appropriate situation whether that can be expanded to other than small property owners in certain situations. i would not say, necessarily, that 308 turk would necessarily be a candidate. but other prompts may be. that would definitely be something to be looked at. >> that would be great and
maybe we could get together proposals around that. i think that it is a benefit. to have these buildings available. there are some of our lowest cost housing. but they really need to, we need to continue to focus on bringing the ha bitbility up. >> and the bliet cases that are very difficult cases for us to resolve so if that became available in the future it would be most helpful. >> as i remember it, the old programs, the surf program was funded by dbi and it was something that got... it was a commission action that dedicated that money to single family home owners. so it did not have to be that way. but we change that had three years ago when it was taken out of the code. because the funds had dried up. but as i remember, it also the
fund was made available because of individual actions of the inspecters that you have to file something with the state in order to get the money back from the board of equalization and that stopped happening too. so maybe we can look into that rose marry and see if we can get that going again. but it will take some actions from us. s >> right. >> to put it back on the code. and in dedicate, the money will be as a policy body i think that it is best. and it may not be single family home owners. in fact, that stopped making sense 25 years ago. so... >> i think that we should revisit that. >> yeah. >> great. >> commissioner mar? >> yes, i would like to thank our partners for coming today. i think that there is going to be another item on the agenda next month which perhaps some of you might want to come back to because i think this has
been an important partnership as the mayor has talked about moving the hud housing into quasiprivate for lack of a better work. i think that there might be a need for us to expand the work. also with our staff we want to take this on, i feel that we have to always look at how we can do more for the under represented tenants in the city, it is a job that we want to do but at the same time we have to have adequate resources whether it is to our community partners or for your own inspecters and this is just one other point that i would like to make is that i always feel like you know, you should also feel free to come to the commission and tell us what we could do better. to support you guys. i feel like there is a firm balance in terms of if you want to be able and have you roots in the community and you want to be able to walk in and look at the apartment owners but
some of the cases that i have seen, like the one that was highlighted in the news is these that these do not happen in a year or two years. you don't let it fall apart in a year or two years. there is encumbent on the community partners to say that the land lords are not letting us in there and we are not getting access. it is time to send in the inspecters in and right those novs. sometimes, we want to work with the community partners, and work with the tenant to collaborate with the land lords so they will do the right thing so we don't have to go out there and write up the novs. but there comes a point that we see on the news items. that is just two things, that i want to point out that you guys also should feel free to come and you know, the partnership
has to go both ways there is a role for the inspecters to play and at a point when some of the instincts of the land lords are not responding and that is kind of our job to hold them to it. >> thank you. >> deputy. director do you want to weigh in here? >> levan department of building inspection. i wanted to put in a little more details on the surf money. that was the code enforcement rehabilitation fund and this fund was completely transferred over to the mayor's office of housing several years ago. and the reason was because we were basically acting as an intermediatary. and so the mayor's office of housing went into agreements for low income, low interest loans or it was my at some point in time they were also
doing grants. two various people who needed to make improvements on their homes, regardless of what the issue was. and then they will send us the agreement and then we would process it through our financial books. and so, in order to try to make that much more efficient, we decided that we would transfer the money over to the mayor's office of housing so that they would not have to keep going through us. now to the extent that there was no money coming back as the commissioner said is totally correct is what was supposed to happen was we entered into a level of non-compliance by the property owners, we would then send their names to the state, the state would then put and this is very simplified but they would put, a hold on their property tax so that you could
know longer claim exceptions and so, then, if the people ever paid, and everything got corrected on our side, we would then tell them and they would then take out of the state's general fund and give us some money. this stock, several years ago, when the state had their, you know, melt down, which occurred, i think, several years before our melt down occurred. and so, since there was no money coming in, and all of the money was, all of the decision-making which was rightly so to happened with the mayor's office of housing as far as at that time, the decision was made so that we would send the money there, i would be more than happy to talk to the financial person dj harrington and find out exactly how much they have available and what the status, i don't know who took that over after you left. >> and so, as i remember what the mayor's office of housing got was a balance in the fund.
>> right. >> so, the set up which was really inefficient of how, it did not have to be that way t does not have to be that way in the future. it was partly that way because it was in the code, if you will remember. it was designated and you know, i think that is for us, if we are going to pursue putting the fund together, again, and making it available, we should think carefully about what the policy choices are and what it should be and what the policy out comes, you know? should be? before we start putting in details of you know what the transfer of funds will be. before you talk, we should try to figure out where we are going with it. and then make-up the rules. >> and then i would suggest that this may be but you have to populate the fund because there sno money. there is probably $2,000 on our side if even that. if you wanted to populate the fund just like we are
populating the repair and demolition fund so there is sufficient money there to be able to do emergency orders and then, hopefully be able to recover that money. we could populate the, i would not call it the surf fund, i would find another name because that was definitely established by the state. it was established under the code and we could write out the rules. but it would have to go to the board of supervisors but this would be an extremely good use in my opinion and my recommendation. although this, of course, has not been discussed with the, you know, acting director and the other deputies but it would be a good candidate for use of our existing fund balance, which would be important. >> thank you. >> thank you, commissioner walker has one comment there. >> i'm really excited about moving this forward. so it is perfect... >> it will be great. maybe we could have a
subcommittee meet. >> perfect. >> and then include some folks in the community. but identify and guide some policy choices. >> perfect. >> i also appreciate this conversation and hope that a lot of our partners will stay for our next agenda item. we have an issue coming forward about another very important priority of seismic retrofit program that will effect our tenant community significantly these are these older buildings. and i am hopeful that we can take advantage of the fact that we are all in the same room to really move forward this very important policy. in a way that works for all of us. so, this is exactly why we have these programs, to be able to make sure that we get these
buildings safe, ha bitible and maintain it. >> if you could stay on for the next item that would be great. >> this is a point of information the referals that she is talking about is not for the single family owned occupied buildings. that was good revenue. and so i would be more than happy to work with you on that and if she could find any other funding sources as well or i could work with her on that we could pursue that as well. >> great. >> okay. we will move on to the next item. great conversation, thanks to everybody for coming out here this morning, thank you for submissioner walker for putting this on the agenda and good conversation and good ideas came from it and maybe the deputy director we could talk to her about coming back and doing a full presentation here and taking it to that next level of committees and so on
and coming up with the guided principles and implement those. >> if there is no more, comment on anybody, i can actually, we can go great to public comment? >> is there any public comment on this item? >> yes, i see some. >> okay >> just state your name, please? >> robert davis. so this is back to the notice of violation idea that if we were to enforce the notice of violation more strongly, that much of this would not happen i think as commissioner mar mentioned a minute ago, these kitchens did not fall down in a day, the notice of violations were on the books for years. it was more pressure on the building owners and allowed the dbi to enforce the code of the notices of violation, many of these problems would go away. i don't support lending them the money, what i would say about this property and many properties like it, if you
can't afford to maintain the property, especially where there are people living, you should sell it. i think that it is as basic as that. thank you. >> thank you, mr. davis. is there another gentleman there? please and state your full name. >> my name is john freberg i have been with the housing rights committee and involved as a counselor since the mid 80s. i just wanted to give you a more ground view of what i do in relationship to the sea op. we deal with a wide variety of abilities and understandings of the rules and regulations here in the city. so, a tenant comes in and a the situations might be with mold or heat i help them write a letter. but the letters are with their own significant at ther on it without our organization
necessarily involved as a participant in the letter but more as a letter to the landlord saying, look, you know, we have some problems here, and i have tried to communicate with you in the past in different ways. so in this particular situation, i am going to have to ask you to give me a written reply on a period of time. we are saying that in context when that period of time ends up and the landlord does not apply and reply on the letter or does not apply appropriately. what i explained to the tenants is how it works and how when that deadline passes and they contact our coordinator who then, and fax the letter to us or deliver the letter to us, with the landlord's phone
number on it that is taken by the counselor and is brought to the association and is brought with a contact with the landlord and a lot of ways it completes the circle so that the landlord can say that they did not know about this. and they were not given an opportunity to reply. and so, sea op, is an important tool in the tool box thatvy to help the tenants and get them empowered. that is what my months ago
driven, public policy. and this is probably the single most important public safety issue that will be before the board this year. and you can see by the support letters in your packet that we have already received unanimous support at the code advisorry structural level and the full code advisory level not only that there are letters of support from the aia as well as spur. this shows that this is putting politics aside and it is about saving these buildings and making sure that that 58,000 san franciscoans are able to return home. i am happy to address any questions that the commission may have. >> commissioner walker? >> thank you. >> i see a lot of folks here and in the audience who have been working on this very important issue for well over a
decade. and i am really excited to see this mandatory program. i think that i have been involved in this process myself, for well over a decade. and as i have said often, the more that you realize and know about the state of some of these buildings, the more urgency there is, i fully support this program. and this mechanism which we have wrestled with for a long, long period of time. so i wonder if you could talk about any kind of movement that we have in helping the building owners with these up grades in a way that does not negatively effect the affordable and the pass through to tenants. >> absolutely. one of